Seek random encounters

I recently had a random encounter with a woman in a café.

I was rushing to my car and heard someone yell my name across the room, and when I turned, I couldn’t see a familiar face. My confused look encouraged the caller to shout again, drawing my focus to the one seeking to gain my attention.

Maybe it was my poor eyesight, perhaps it was my distracted mind, but I didn’t find clarity until I stepped closer.

Here I was, in a different town, having a random encounter with one of my best friends from high school. Many decades have passed since Te Puke High School, we both look a lot different, and yet we connected instantly and were sharing memories, updates and laughs like we were 30 years younger. The connection for me was life giving and we parted with a promise of catching up with more intent.

As I drove home, I pondered how meaningful long-term friendships are and how powerful and positive they can be for us. We are created to need each other.

We don’t have to go back very far in time to remember the long days and weeks of mandated isolation. For those of us who are natural connectors, like me, we craved for deeper human connection and quality time with loved ones. Chats on Zoom or Messenger just didn’t cut the mustard and meet my need for connection. As a church family we often say, “isolation doesn’t need to mean disconnection.”

Why do we choose to live our lives inside our comfort zone, pandering to our obsessions and disorders, remaining completely disconnected from the life, health and happiness that could come from community?

Last weekend I had a random encounter with someone who wanted to end their life because they felt alone.

Thankfully, a friend of mine heeded her (literal) scream for help and gathered her into their home for safety. I was invited into this small, seemingly dark circle, which was heartbreaking and yet warming. Here I was, offering unconditional love to someone who felt unloved. Here I was, witnessing a family embrace a stranger, ensuring that the cries of loneliness did not go unheard.

Friends, here lies our opportunity; to put practical hands to help, provide a safe bed to sleep on and offer connection to bring reassurance that no one need remain disconnected from loving and safe community.

Jesus told a parable most people will have heard of, the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s a story told to answer the question, “how do I love others as I love myself?” (Which, by the way, is a question worthy of a deep conversation). Search out the story for yourself if you want to learn more, but for now let me make a simple point.

We need each other. We are created for meaningful connection, and that connection only bears fruit when we get outside of our presumed “safe space” and give ourselves to others. Step closer. Avoid disconnection. Notice cries of help. And move to show others they matter.

Phil Strong

More Recent News

All together now?

The head of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce wants to spark a debate on the 35-year-old local government boundaries in the province. The last local government reforms introduced a regional tier, male-dominated borough and county…

News in Briefs

Council backtracks Waipā District Council has taken the proposed blue blob “preferred” position off the table for a third bridge as part of its Cambridge Connections programme following a community storm. The announcement was made…

Near record number of new Kiwis

Another 104 Waipā residents became Kiwis last week at the latest citizenship ceremony held in the Cambridge Town Hall. Mayor Susan O’Regan told The News that while there may have been doubters when the first…

Enriching the art world

Waipā artists associated with Te Awamutu’s Enrich Plus community will showcase their creative talents at an IHC Art Awards gallery exhibition in the town tomorrow (Friday). Their artwork will go on public view from 3.30pm…